If you came home from work, and your child was missing, how far would you go to find them? Would you continue to search, even though everyone tells you to give up? Would you except a substitute child from the police, if they hadn’t actually found your child?
The Changeling is a tale of a mother searching for answers for her missing son in the 1920’s. Angelina Jolie (Wanted) stars as Christine Collins, a mother who works hard as a phone operator by day, and even harder as a mother by night. She comes home one day to the horror every mother dreads, her son has vanished. Panicked, she immediately turns to the police for help. After a few months of nothing, the police call to inform her that they have located her son. When she goes to meet her estranged son, she is welcomed by an impostor. The police insist the child is hers, but she knows different. How could the child be hers? He is shorter and uncircumcised. The police seem more concerned with showboating for the press, than solving the mystery. They insist that the child belongs to her, and that she has gone mad for rejecting him. They would go so far as to throw her into an asylum, just to shut her up. But with the help of a pastor (John Malkovich) she is able to continue the fight for the truth. Will she be reunited with her son? Or have the police taken too long, and her son is lost forever?
The Changeling is based on a relatively unknown true story, brought to the screen by Clint Eastwood(Mystic River). Eastwood continues to be one of the most relevant directors working today. His movies often raise more questions of morality, than satisfying answers. Just like River he captures the anguish of a parent who has lost their child. Jolie gives her finest performance to date as a mother emotionally ravaged, and torn by the loss of her son. It shows the true versatility of her talents that she was able to make this film, and the action-adventure Wanted in the same year. The same is true for Eastwood, as his other 2008 release Gran Torino is even better. The fantastic supporting cast help flesh the story out. Malkovich (Con Air) has never been more convincing, than as a pastor with a mission. While the movie may not be award worthy, the acting and directing are top notch.
Grim in it’s nature, The Changeling is a beautiful movie to watch. It brings the twenties to life rarely seen in today’s movies. The cars, the wardrobe, and the make-up all feel authentic to the time. The film drags in some spots, but should definitely be watched until the end. While the ending may not satisfy everyone, it will surely start up a conversation or two. But by the end of the night, you will be answering the same question, “What would you do?”